Checking emails on commute should ‘count as work’, researchers say

More than half of people use their smartphones for work activities while travelling

Thursday 30 August 2018 15:54
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Messy desks could be a sign of genius

Going through emails on your commute into the office should “count as work”, researchers have said.

A study conducted by the University of the West England looked at 5,000 rail passengers and found that 54 per cent spent their journey into work looking at emails.

Researchers concluded that smartphones and widespread internet access on journeys had caused a “blurring of boundaries” between life at home and work.

“How do we count that time? Do workplace cultures need to change?” researcher Dr Juliet Jain, from the university’s Centre for Transport and Society, told the BBC.

“There’s a real challenge in deciding what constitutes work.”

She added that counting the journey as work could “ease commuter pressure on peak hours”.

Business leaders have noted that not being able to switch off from work was important for productivity.

“This increasing flexibility has the potential to radically shift the work-life balance for the better – but it also leaves open the door to stress and lower productivity,” said Jamie Kerr, of the Institute of Directors.

The research comes as a new study found that taking time off work can help you to live longer.

A 40-year study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich, concluded that people who took fewer than three weeks of annual leave were a third more likely to die young than those who took more.

Researchers said a healthy diet and regular exercise were still no substitute for time off when it came to relieving stress and prolonging life.

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